Sunday, July 17, 2011

Follow That Muse! The Magic of Midnight in Paris

If you’re a born romantic, or a traveler worth your Samsonite, you’ve got your Paris story in your repertoire. Most everyone who touches down in the City of Light for more than a day or two has been blasted by her mystique in a life-altering sense.

But one doesn’t even need to lay eyes on the Trocadero, La Tour Eiffel or the Louvre to have such a wallop of awakening: magical rabbit holes to our own heart and soul are here, there, and everywhere. We only need to look with a somewhat diffuse, open way of seeing. When the muse comes knocking, we have to take the leap and trust – and leave all cynicism and doubt aside. We are then duly rewarded with inspiration – real soul juice – beyond our wildest dreams.

Woody Allen’s new film, Midnight In Paris, reminds us of the portals in time and space, and in our own imaginations, that are there for us to walk through… if we just say yes.

Quelle coincidence I found myself watching Mr. Allen’s Midnight on Bastille Day itself, in my favorite old-fashioned theater in San Francisco, the legendary Balboa. It happened also to be the Full Moon in Capricorn, the Sea Goat being a great lover of all things traditional and lasting. Woody’s love letter to Paris relies less on sexual and relationship tension and neurosis, than his typical fare. This film is an uplifting homage to all that is beautiful and meaningful – that which LIVES ON – from the past’s Golden Ages, namely ART, MUSIC, AND LITERATURE – three muses that keep us going when the world becomes drab and dull, bleak and isolating.

Halfway through Midnight, I felt the spirit of La Bohème pulsing through my veins stronger than ever, an affirmation that I was on my way to my own enchanted island of creative inspiration – that intoxicating knowing that nothing could ever keep me from expressing my true self. As long as my body remains strong enough to move and groove, and the mind spry enough to quibble and scribble, I am pretty damned sure I’m going to remain fused with the muse: the art of writing, performance, music, film, and whatever else airs on my personal self-expression channel.

Perhaps it is true that artistes are born, not made. Yes, in one sense, we don’t get to choose the muse; the muse chooses us. However, we all have” inklings,” don’t we? We can all surf the waves of inspiration and make our very lives into art. Our approaches to this world can change in an instant, quick like a bunny. Opening oneself TOTALLY and completely to Life As Art is a risky business, indeed.

If you're an aspiring artist, a patron, or a casual admirer, keep in mind that it takes a highly sensitive soul to bring words, scores, images from the beyond – the superconscious – to planet earth - which is why having a muse is so comforting. It is a constant dance, a romance with that unseen – to be able to focus totally and listen to the muse and heed her coaxing. Without realizing it, we often make ourselves unavailable by shutting down or ignoring her prompts. Still, we must try, for it is our art that gives us real nourishment and feeds our souls completely. It is true alchemy to create exquisiteness. The care and feeding of a true artist-muse relationship is like the life of a hothouse orchid at times: it takes a delicate balance of food, light, water, temperature – and L O V E . . .

But oh, how grand it is when we’ve aligned ourselves with our muse! It could be the Winged Glory, the exterior of the Pompidou, or an accordion-playing busker near Montmartre that brings you to tears and drops you to your knees in humility. Even if you never leave your hometown, no matter: We all have a “Paris” in our souls. Whether an actual place, or an imagined scene in time and space, our portals to the fantastic are those truly unique circumstances that make you swoon and sends your heArt straight to the Moon.

Because when all is said and done, it is art that makes life worth living. We are born to create.

Our muses are not only friends on our paths; they are the very lifelines to our soul. I laud Mr. Allen for reminding us to trust, to hang on with all our might and never let go. Chapeaux!

In celebration of artists and their muses!


P.S. If you're headed to Paris, I recommend Rick Steve's Paris guidebook for lovely tips and suggestions. Be forewarned: you may never want to come home again...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Erin's Top India Film Picks: Part One

You can take a Bindi Girl out of Indyah, but you can never take India out of the Bindi Girl!

True love for the spicy subcontinent never dies - even if you're saturated after four years in the masala.

Today's post shares five of my favorite India-themed movies - with some real oddball picks! (This will be a multi-part post, since there are so many to share!)

In no particular order...

1. Outsourced (2006)
Sweet, sweet, sweet with just the right amount of sugar in the chai. A Seattle guy gets shipped off to a village in Maharashtra, a few hours outside of Mumbai, to set up a call center. This heartwarming flick does a great job of portraying the cliches of typical India, without going over the top. It's mightily accurate and doesn't try to be anything than what it is: quirky and beautiful, just like India. The main character, Todd (whom the Indians call Mr. Toad) falls in love with bindis, too!

Josh Hamilton and Ayesha Dharker are sheer naturals without a trace of overacting.

2. Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Ooh, la-la. This visual fest by filmmaker Mira Nair captured my heart in a big way. It was Monsoon Wedding that put me over the top, watching it in an art-house cinema in Berlin, I fell deeply in love with the colors, the music, the madness of India. Mira Nair's films are known for incorporating controversial social topics in a way that keeps you in contact with the beauty and soul. The soundtrack is unbeatable and the best is "Aaj Mera Jee Karda" (Today My Heart Desires) by Mychael Danna, sung by Sukhwinder Singh. Listen and enjoy here.

3. The Namesake (2006)
Based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, here's another Mira Nair splendor. From the beginning train journey scene, in which the main character (Irrfan Khan - a intellectually-sexy favorite Indian actor who also stars in Slumdog Millionaire) loses everything save for the drive to start anew in New York City, we are glued to the screen with our very souls. The back and forth transition between traditional Bengali life in Calcutta (Kolkata) and adjusting to the ways of the modern world is poignant and heart-wrenching. I'm getting choked up just writing about it. Gulp.

4. Bride and Prejudice (2004)
For the sheer fun of a crossover between Bollywood and Hollywood - and the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai - former Miss World and the indisputed queen of Bollywood. Of course, other princesses have already come and gone, but nothing can take your eyes off of 'Ash' once you've fallen under her Bolly-Barbie spell. Part screwball comedy, part Grease musical ("No Life, Without Wife"), Bride and Prejudice is a good time all around.

5. Erin Reese's YouTube Channel (2002-2011)
*Just-for-fun Amateur Pick!*
The making of mini-movies around the globe has opened my heart and mind, and India gives me inspiration no end. From sunrise yoga to Varanasi rickshaws, the wild east Orissan seaside to the promenades of Mumbai, this novice filmmaker professes no technical expertise, just a whole lotta love, light, sound, and spice - it's travel and soul.

Coming Soon: Darjeeling Limited, Mississippi Masala, Slumdog, and much more!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bindi's Top-Rated!

Erin Reese 'gets' the spirit of India.

In reading her adventures, I could almost hear the crowds and smell the curry.
But more than that, I felt blessed by the soulfulness of half-a-dozen millennia.
Erin was born to be in India - and to write this book.

~ Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life

Hello travelers!

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased and read my new eBook, Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India. I'm so excited to see Bindi climbing the ranks, rated #6 of all top-rated India books in Amazon's Kindle Store!

If you haven't already added your own review, please do! Your reactions help publishers and booksellers to take notice. Thank you!

You may also enjoy listening to the podcast of my recent radio appearance on San Francisco's WholeBody Talk with interviewer Polina Smith, in which I discuss India, Bindi, and astrology - and a bit about how I came to be the eclectic character I am today. If you missed the podcast, click here for listening information.

Happy travels, happy reading!


p.s. Bindi is also available on Amazon UK and Amazon DE. If you're from the UK, be the first to leave a review! Seien Sie der Erste, der einen deutschen Bewertung abzugeben!